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PIECE OF CAKE, PEACE OF MIND

Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time

First off—this is my 100th post! Seems fitting that it should be devoted to the most food-centric day of the year.  Here goes:
So after many mini Thanksgivings, the real thing finally happened this past weekend. I started cooking on Wednesday because I prepared a pretty ambitious menu, thanks to lots of inspiring articles and photos from Bon Appetit magazine (which I’m currently obsessed with, by the way).
On the menu (I know I already posted this, but let’s just take a moment to recap):

  • herb roasted turkey
  • mashed root vegetables with a bacon vinaigrette (courtesy BA)
  • cranberry orange mint chutney/salsa (courtesy BA)
  • pumpkin risotto (with kabocha squash)
  • classic grougeres (French cheese puffs)
  • sausage cornbread dressing (courtesy BA)
  • classic apple pie
  • classic pumpkin pie
  • cinnamon whipped cream (of course)

Karen, my cousin’s wife, brought a couple of veggie dishes per my request as well because I kind of forgot/didn’t care about them with so many other things on my mind. She made a cold grilled eggplant and roasted pepper salad over green beans and a caprese salad. Both were perfect compliments to the otherwise heavy meal. On top of all that, my mom bought a honey baked ham because older Chinese people don’t like turkey apparently and my uncle made a plate of Chinese shrimp and snow peas. All delicious!

Everything came out well, thanks to our brand-spankin’ new kitchen and my sous chefs (aka my siblings). This was the first real meal cooked in this kitchen and I think I did a pretty darned good job of breaking everything in. The double convection oven was really fun to play with and made browning the turkey effortless. It was also really nice not having to juggle all my dishes around one oven. I actually cannot believe I used to do that…I guess I’m getting spoiled already.

The Wolf range was also amazing. I used it in conjunction with a brand new set of pots and pans my parents got, with great success!

While my favorites were the mashed root veggies (which included turnips, parsnips, celery root, and golden beets) and the pumpkin pie, my brother decided that the real star of the show was the cranberry orange mint chutney/salsa. I keep calling it both names because I don’t really know what classification it falls under. It contained real, unsweetened cranberries, oranges, and ginger, all raw, making it a really nice and refreshing change from the typical overly-sweet and sticky cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Orange Mint “Chutney,” from Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2-12 oz. bags of fresh or frozen cranberries (unsweetened and thawed, if frozen)
  • 4 navel oranges
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. minced red onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp. minced, peeled ginger

Directions:

  1. Pulse cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped.  Or, if you’re like me and you don’t have access to a food processor, chop them by hand. I won’t try to sugar coat this one, it’s quite a laborious process.
  2. Zest one of the oranges and place zest in a medium sized bowl with cranberry pieces.
  3. Peel and remove the white membrane from the oranges with a paring knife.  Cut oranges into medium-sized chunks, add to the cranberry mixture.
  4. Toss sugar, chopped mint, onion, and ginger with the cranberry mixture and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.  “Chutney” can be made one day ahead, and flavors meld nicely when you do so! Make sure to refrigerate after leaving at room temperature for 2 hours.

My other fun accomplishment this Thanksgiving was learning to truss a turkey without twine because, well, I forgot the twine in Berkeley.  It’s kind of a sad method if you’re an animal lover, but this turkey was past saving anyway so just suck it up.  Basically you can cut a slit in the extra skin at the opening of the turkey’s cavity and tuck both of the legs into that.  Then, just twist the wings so they’re lying under the breast and voila! Twine-less trussing! The skin-slit rig ended up breaking apart about 3/4 of the way through the cooking process, but by then the turkey was already holding its shape so it didn’t matter, and was actually probably for the better because it might’ve looked weird if the turkey’s legs were jutting through its skin flap on the Thanksgiving table…but I digress.

Aside from all the gorging (which I did WAY too much of) it was really nice being home with friends and family in a beautiful new home. I feel so lucky to have such a great life full of great people. Seriously. I ran into a lot of old friends all weekend and it was nice to see that everyone’s doing well and growing up. All things to be quite thankful for.

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